As an agent that represents the buyer the Buyer's Agent duties are:
- promote your best interests
- be loyal to you
- follow your lawful instructions
- provide you with all material facts that could influence your decisions
- use reasonable skill, care and diligence
- account for all monies they handle for you
In addition to the duties owed to a Buyer by an agent there are services:
- find suitable property
- arrange financing
- learn more about the property
- otherwise promote your best interests
- if you have a written agency agreement, the agent can also help you prepare and submit a written offer to the seller
It is important to note that there are also unwritten agreements. Some firms may be willing to represent you and assist you for a time as a Buyer's Agent without a written agreement. But if you decide to make an offer to purchase a particular property, the agent must obtain a write agency agreement. If you do not sign it, the agent can no longer represent you and assist you and is no longer required to keep information about you confidential. Furthermore, if you later purchase the property through an agent with another firm, the agent who first showed you the property may seek compensation from the other firm. Be sure to read and understand any agency agreement before you sign it.
Once you have agreed (either orally or in writing) for the firm and its agents to be your Buyer's Agent, they may not give any confidential information about you to sellers or their agents without your permission so long as they represent you. But, until you make this agreement with your buyer's agent, you should avoid telling the agent anything you would not want a seller to know.
Lastly, a Buyer's Agent can be compensated in different ways. For example, you can pay the agent out of your own pocket. Or the agent may seek compensation from the seller or listing agent first, but require you to pay if the listing agent refuses. Whatever the case, be sure your compensation arrangement with your Buyer's Agent is spelled out in a buyer agency agreement before you make an offer to purchase property and that you carefully read and understand the compensation provision.
Whew, still with me? Again, be sure to ask for the Working With Real Estate Agents brochure from whichever professional Realtor you choose. Have them go over it with you. Don't treat it lightly - you are due duties and services - be sure of what they are!
Later in the week we will move on to Dual Agency.....excited, aren't you?